Marijuana Activist Jodie Emery Requests Liberal Legalization Task Force Role

CANNABIS CULTURE – High-profile marijuana legalization advocate Jodie Emery has sent an official request to Bill Blair and the Liberal Government of Canada, seeking to be included on the marijuana legalization task force.

“It is essential that the federal government consult with professionals and individuals who have devoted their entire life to researching marijuana and drug law reform,” said Emery, who sought the Liberal Party Vancouver-East nomination bid in 2014.

“As a high-profile legalization activist for more than a decade, it would be an honour for me to participate on the marijuana legalization task force. The Liberal Government needs to create a balanced task force that includes cannabis experts, not just former opponents of cannabis legalization.”

“I have personally experienced the harms of marijuana prohibition, so it would be a privilege to represent the millions of Canadians who have been – and continue to be – negatively affected by unjust marijuana law enforcement.”

Jodie Emery has written the following official letter to Member of Parliament and Parliamentary Secretary to the Justice Minister, Bill Blair, outlining her credentials that qualify her for the task force.

The letter was sent via email on Sunday, April 24, and print copies will be sent by express overnight postal mail to the Ottawa offices of:

– Hon. Bill Blair, Parliamentary Secretary, marijuana legalization task force
– Hon. Jody Wilson-Raybould, Justice Minister
– Hon. Ralph Goodale, Public Safety Minister
– Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister
– Hon. Jane Philpott, Health Minister

On Monday April 25, Jodie Emery will be delivering an official letter in-person to the Hon. Jody Wilson-Raybould’s Vancouver constituency office, 1245 West Broadway Street:

Dear Honourable Member of Parliament Bill Blair,

I am writing to request my official participation in the Liberal Government’s marijuana legalization task force. My qualifications include the following:

– In 2010, I campaigned in California for the first-ever United States marijuana legalization vote, Proposition 19

– In 2011, at the invitation of Representative Mary-Lou Dickerson of Washington State, I testified to the House Ways and Means Committee in favour of marijuana legalization Bill 1550 as one of nine speakers, including former United States District Attorney John McKay and former State Senator George Rohrbacher

– In 2012, I was an official endorser and campaign member for the successful Washington State Initiative 502 marijuana legalization campaign

– In 2012, I spoke at a nationally-broadcast “Stop The Violence” marijuana legalization news conference alongside former B.C. Attorney General Geoffrey Plant, former U.S. District Attorney John McKay, and Dr. Evan Wood of the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS and Urban Health Research Initiative

– In February 2016, I spoke to Honourable Senators and panel members, including the Hon. Bill Blair, at the Liberal Senate Forum legalization conference

– I have spent twelve years researching and writing about cannabis and legalization, as a magazine editor, media spokesperson and five-time political candidate

– I have personally experienced the harms of marijuana prohibition enforcement by experiencing the criminal justice system when I lost my husband to U.S. prison for a five-year sentence (for marijuana seed offences and his political advocacy)

– I have owned and operated four successful tax-paying marijuana-related media, retail and service industry businesses since 2009

– I have spoken at legalization conferences and events in provinces and territories across Canada, and in Washington, Oregon, California, Texas, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Spain, Ireland, England, Scotland, the Netherlands, Austria, the Czech Republic, and Chile; I have upcoming appearances in Poland, Alaska and Mexico

– I have spoken about marijuana legalization at events alongside the Hon. Irwin Cotler, U.S. Senator Mike Gravel, U.S. Representative Dennis Kucinich, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes, and Paul Pelosi, Jr., son of Nancy Pelosi, U.S. Speaker of the House of Representatives

Many Canadians feel very strongly that a truly informed and balanced marijuana legalization task force must include at least one person who has devoted their career and volunteer efforts to that cause. It would be negligent for a government to draft legislation about gay marriage, immigration, manufacturing, farming, or health care without consulting representatives and experts in those fields.

The Liberal Government’s legalization task force will be perceived as unequal and biased if it seeks input only from the traditional long-time opponents of legalization, i.e. addiction, mental health and police representatives. Other stakeholders must be consulted, such as professionals from the marijuana business community; lawyers who have won precedent-setting federal court cases and Supreme Court challenges; and peaceful Canadian citizens who have been penalized by the criminal justice system.

In February of this year, you introduced yourself to me at the Liberal Senate marijuana legalization forum in Ottawa and said you would like to speak with me further about this important subject. It would be an honour to represent our country’s marijuana legalization advocates and the millions of Canadian cannabis consumers who support inclusive, balanced, evidence-based legalization policy.

I am hereby formally requesting to have an official role in the Liberal Government’s marijuana legalization task force, so I may share my expertise and offer suggestions about the best way to respect Canadians’ rights while protecting them from harm.

Sincerely yours,

Jodie Joanna Emery